UNSONG SMALL BUSINESS HEROES PAY FAIR TAX AS MELTDOWN VILLAINS RECONCILE FOR BONUS
By Farouk Martins Aresa
Our traditional small business men and women still strive to provide employment for others. These days in Nigeria, most families are starting small business so that their children graduating from colleges and universities can be placed. It used to be the market women who employ their children and others, more of us do now. Many of them start from scratch, source seed money from traditional esusu or from friends and relatives. Buying and selling are always the trend as well as catering. Skilled jobs like carpentry, cars and electronics repairs also flourish. Encouraging small businesses is more productive than speculative financial services or investments that evade taxes.
We have been conditioned to put our money in banks, bonds and stock markets for a healthy return by the time of retirement. As we are ready to retire, we are caught in a web of economic meltdown and those who are not ready, wonder where to put their money now. Wages are down if you still have a job and old retirees die before collecting their pension. Yet, those who gambled big, stole our money or were bailed out with our money are looking for ways to give themselves another round of bonuses or loot. They are trumping failed policies again.
They ignore the fact that their money is made from other people's money. Individuals that put money together in large numbers make others millionaires and billionaires. Those who sell high and buy low make more money than pure buyers. The importance of this basic principle is that money flows from those who always spend to those who always accumulate. It is even easier to get rich if wealth is stolen or manipulated in favor of the shrewd. So when the rich claim it is their money, they have found either legitimate or illegitimate ways to make it from others.
There must be some good in reconciliation in the likes of Dangote and Otedola being called to make up before we find out their secret manipulations of stock market and prices like their counterparts all over the world. Ibori, Gana and Nwachukwu are called upon to ensure total reconciliation in PDP. Governor Obi from a different party, Uba and Ngige may not have a serious contest if the entire reconciliation plan works out. In the process of all these is the loss of fair and robust competition amongst the heavy weights to avoid spilling their guts.
Like the politicians; Adenuga, Dantata and those businessmen hiding under the cloak of pastors and imams earning humongous salaries that have been exposed for not paying taxes on salary may reconcile (settle) too. They indulged in all type of luxuries made possible by us as patrons of their products, or poor congregation whose souls were "saved". There is a difference between individual charities to cronies and business income. We lump both as a way to avoid taxes.
There are a few more outrageous cases than free loading corporate bum conservatives who demand services from governments but refuse to pay their own fair share of taxes. That is how they brought us to the world economic melt-down. They dodge and refuse to pay taxes because they can spend their money better than the government, which is easier to identify with. It is at the expense of people who need schools, health and other services with taxes.
They continue to demand tax cuts on no taxes but expect blood out of a stone, well aware that if we go back to the stone ages without services for the rest of us, they can survive. They accumulate money from the same meager earnings of the poor and the working class who have to buy their products so that these rich can make fat profit. They prey on us for Ponzi and pyramid schemes.
Accepted, Nigeria is not the type of country one can vouch for that all the taxes collected will be put to good use. However, it is not an excuse to default on taxes if you are making money and your business is profitable. They are the same people who waste Nigeria foreign reserves belonging to all of us on electronic gadgets and all kinds of foreign cars, especially where local talents are begging them to patronize our products. Small businesses cannot shoulder tax alone.
If you want example from US, you do not have to look far. See how they have turned California into basket case. That is where they get this attitude from. They have kin conservatives in Europe and America who bark at taxes all the time. Most Canadians are usually very proud of what their taxes are used for but as they get influenced by US politics, some of them start to bark at taxes too, tilting their Government to the right. Nevertheless, Canadians cannot get to the level of revolt in US where anyone can win an election with "no taxes" tag!
California happens to be one of the progressive states in America but conservative opportunists continue to hijack the State Government during gubernatorial elections. Their tax revolt may be getting to a point of no return, dislocating civilized services that will hurt the poor and the working class more. This is the same State where free loading corporate bums demanded so much for providing energy that they turn the State into darkness like Nigeria. Only to find out years later that the whole mess was staged as a ransom. Their tax revolt is on aga in.
These conservatives are now claiming that the new administration in the United States is trying to bankrupt the Country by spending too much on healthcare, actually less than what the rich got on tax break. Obama Administration is spending to solve domestic problems while previous one was spending on both ends. Indeed, Ronald Reagan, the hero of Republican of all time who came in preaching too much big government, and taxes, left with the highest debt before his time. It took Clinton Administration, a liberal, after papa Bush to change spending to surplus.
Nigeria is not the place to experiment with American selfish conservative policies where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer causing world economic meltdown. Nigeria is always getting from bad to worse in spite of promises that has never yielded results. As the heavy weights reconcile, we are left wondering if it is going to result in any benefit to small business.